The Portland Trail Blazers and Greg Oden agreed to a restructured one-year contract after the oft-injured center had another setback during his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
The new contract was announced Friday after the Blazers opened training camp. A day earlier, Oden’s agent reported the former No. 1 draft pick had agreed to the $8.9 million qualifying offer that Portland offered on June 29.
There had been speculation Oden might be able to play in late January but Blazers acting general manager Chad Buchanan said a medical exam on Thursday led to some concerns.
”We’re hopeful that Greg can get back out on the court this year – maybe not quite as optimistic as we were before – but we feel like Greg Oden is worth that risk for one more year,” Buchanan said.
Oden’s condition wasn’t the only health-related issue as the Blazers opened camp.
All-Star guard Brandon Roy unexpectedly informed the team Thursday night that he planned to retire because of ongoing issues with both of his knees. Then forward LaMarcus Aldridge underwent a heart procedure on Friday that will keep him out for up to two weeks.
The 7-foot Oden hasn’t appeared in a game in two years. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent following this season.
The terms of his new deal were not announced, and the nature of the setback was not disclosed by the team. Oden was examined by doctors in Colorado on Thursday and had an MRI.
Portland selected Oden with the first pick in the 2007 draft, but the ex-Ohio State star had microfracture surgery on his right knee and waited until 2008 to make his NBA debut. He also broke his left kneecap and sat out much of the 2009-10 season.
He is averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds over 82 career games.
”I’m obviously disappointed with the setback, but I’m as determined as ever to return to the court,” Oden said in a statement released by the team. ”I appreciate the support of the Trail Blazers and our fans and that they continue to stand behind me.”
Aldridge was diagnosed in 2007 with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a condition which causes the ventricles of the heart to contract prematurely. During an annual exam with his cardiologist on Friday, it was determined he needed the procedure to ”evaluate the status of the electrical system in his heart,” the team said.
Aldridge later posted to Twitter account: ”Thanks for the support everybody. I’m feeling better and will be ready to go in a few days.”
Aldridge missed the final nine games of the 2006-07 season following a similar procedure.
The 6-foot-11 forward from Texas averaged 21.8 points and 8.8 rebounds last season, the best of his five-year NBA career. He had 36 double-doubles.
The Blazers open the season at home against Philadelphia on Dec. 26.